Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Technology Slows Down Online Cheating

When it comes to massive open online courses (MOOCs), completion rates and cheating have been lightning rods for public opinion. Plagiarism-detection software may be the solution to the cheating issue.

A study from Turnitin, an online plagiarism-prevention service, found that schools using its software had seen a 39% drop in unoriginal writing since 2009, according to a report in eCampus News. More than 55 million online assignments from 1,000 colleges and universities over a five-year span were used in the study.

Additional results showed that two-year colleges with between 3,000 and 5,000 students had the largest reduction (78%) in unoriginal writing for online assignments. Four-year institutions with fewer than 1,000 students saw a 19% decrease in plagiarism, the smallest change in the study.

More than 75% of institutions have adopted academic-integrity policies for nontraditional courses, according to a report released in December from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). That study also found that 40% of the responding schools use technology to authenticate student test-takers and another 14% said they had adopted policies to curb cheating in online courses.

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